I returned home yesterday from my birthday road trip. Actually, it was a co-birthday road trip, because it was as much in celebration of the upcoming birthday of Suzanne, my friend and co-pilot (on the road and for the past several years of my life) as it was to celebrate my own birthday. My “wild and free 33” as I deemed it.

I had been saying for several months that I really just wanted to get out of town and go somewhere that I could spend my birthday basking in the incredible beauty of nature. I originally had visions of sitting in a hot tub overlooking the spectacular desert scenery of Joshua Tree as I greeted my 34th year on this planet, but I realized too late that that would have required planning a little further in advance, so that trip will have to wait for another year. But, when Suzanne suggested a camping trip along the California coastline with stops in Santa Barbara, Ragged Point, and Big Sur, I was all in.

I have always felt most at peace, most myself, out in nature. When I’m sitting on a beach or wandering down a trail or strolling through the woods that thing inside me that is usually spinning at a frenetic pace seems to just naturally slow down. I breathe more deeply. I connect with gratitude and joy more easily. So spending several days following the rhythms of nature seemed like the perfect way to kick off my personal new year.

The fact that this year is supposed to be a landmark year of positive shift for Virgos and that my birthday fell just before a simultaneous new moon and solar eclipse did not escape my attention. New moons and eclipses are considered in astrology, as well as many other traditions, to be powerful times for wiping the slate clean and starting fresh, and after the last year, I am most definitely ready to do just that.

32 was an incredibly full year for me with many, many ups and downs. If you had asked me a year ago what was ahead for me in the next year I would never have guessed even half of it. I didn’t expect to experience all of the highs and lows of love and come out of it with a deeper understanding of myself and what I truly want and need in my relationships. I didn’t know that my younger sister would experience her first pregnancy, and that I would be so incredibly excited the first time I saw my little nephew-to-be’s image on the ultrasound screen. I could never have imagined that I would feel fine one summer evening as I shared some food with a friend, and then find myself in an emergency room the very next day, waiting to have my appendix removed, my first serious surgery ever. I had no idea that only a couple of months later, I would also go on my first retreat ever and connect with an incredible community of women who are writers and so much more or that I would travel across the country to go on an East Coast adventure to reconnect with old friends and see beautiful places that I had never been to before. I could not have told you that I would uncover passions that had been buried deeply inside of me for years and begin to make huge personal shifts in order to bring more of them into my daily life. I wouldn't have guessed that I would enroll in a program to study health and wellness and become completely lit up by the idea of supporting others who are seeking greater wellbeing in their own lives. And I certainly didn’t know that I would end the 33rd year of my life and start the 34th with a magical road trip during which I would see humpback whales swimming past me and sending puffs of salty water into the air each time they surfaced to take a breath or that I wouldn't be able to wipe the smile off of my face as a giant swarm of the most brilliantly blue dragonflies glided and dipped through the air all around me or that I would be completely captivated as I watched a bobcat hunt for and eventually pounce on its lunch just a matter of feet in front of me on a beautiful trail in Big Sur. 

No, I definitely could not have predicted that any of that would happen. But all of it did in just a single year of life, and all I can think now, as I embark on another, is that I am so excited to see what this next year will bring.